18-day Egyptian revolution

Posted: February 12, 2011 in Egypt, Israel, Middle East, Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

Post-Mubarak era dawns on Egypt
Al Jazeera online 12 Feb 2011

“…we don’t really know if Mubarak decided to step down or [if] he was forcibly removed by the armed forces…”

People power has spoken in the biggest Arab nation just four weeks after Tunisians toppled their own ageing ruler. Egyptians have woken to a new dawn after 30 years of rule under Hosni Mubarak.

Omar Suleiman, the vice-president, said on Friday in a televised address that the president was “waiving” his office, and had handed over authority to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

Suleiman’s 50-word statement was received with a roar of approval and by celebratory chanting and flag-waving from a crowd of hundreds of thousands in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, as well as by other pro-democracy campaigners who were attending protests across the country.

After 18 days of rallies at Cairo’s Tahrir Square, resisting police assaults and a last-ditch raid by Mubarak supporters, people packed not just the epicentre but, it seemed, every street and neighbourhood of the capital. Similar was the scene in other cities and towns across the country.

Fireworks lit the night sky, cars honked under swathes of red, white and black Egyptian flags and people hoisted children above their heads. Some took souvenir pictures with smiling soldiers atop their tanks on city streets. Everyone cried, laughed and embraced in the hope of a new era.

Al Jazeera’s Jacky Rowland, reporting from Cairo, said that in the coming days people will have some concerns. “The obvious thing that is going to be concerning many people is to have some kind of a clear roadmap for the progress towards democratic elections,” she said. “After all this was a revolution not only to overthrow President Mubarak, but also to remove the whole system and install it with one where people would have freedom of choice with [regards to who] who runs the country.”

The top figure in Egypt is now Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, the country’s defence minister and head of the supreme council. In its third statement to the nation since Thursday, the council said in a televised address that it was examining the situation “in order to materialise the aspirations of our great nation”.

Nezar al Sayyad, a Middle East specialist, told Al Jazeera that Egypt “is in a very critical stage in terms of what is going to happen next. I think it’s extremely important to remember here that although Omar Suleiman made the announcement that Mubarak made the decision to step down, we don’t really know if Mubarak decided to step down or [if] he was forcibly removed by the armed forces and by the supreme council,” Al Sayyad said.

Mohamed ElBaradei, a prominent opposition leader, hailed the moment as being “a dream come true”. “I can’t tell you how every Egyptian feels today,” he said. “We have been able to restore our humanity … to be free and independent”….

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/02/201121253441731292.html

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